In this highly competitive virtual accelerator program for TV writers, 6-8 fellows will receive three weeks of industry training before having the opportunity to pitch to major studios, production companies and producers. The entire accelerator, including training and pitching, will occur online.
The goal of this program is to launch the careers of our fellows, which could take the form of selling their TV pilot; securing follow-up meetings with executives; getting hired as a freelance writer, staff writer or writing support staff on an existing series; and/or making valuable industry contacts.
Fellows will be selected with the help of industry judges.
See below for the timeline. If you have any questions not answered here or on our FilmFreeway page, visit our FAQ or register for our free info session on Nov. 1.
Applications for a our 2023 accelerator are closed.
Who is hearing pitches
The 6-8 selected fellows will have the opportunity to pitch their pilots to an elite group of studios, production companies and producers. These pitches will happen in April over Zoom.
Here's what our past fellows had to say:
I could not recommend applying to this lab enough. I will always be so honored and grateful to have been selected as a fellow. It really was a game-changer.
— Vivian Kerr
I liked how the program had such a clear and concise goal of preparing a pitch. It's already opened up doors for me. I feel more confident in my skills as a writer and creator. I would absolutely recommend the program to other writers.
— Ramou Sarr
I'm a person who actively dissuades writers from spending tons of money on contests. But this entry fee is one of the few that is 100% worth it. This program delivered not just mentoring and an amazing creative community, but real introductions to executives who there's potential to work with in the future.
— Kate Torgovnick May
When I entered this program, pitching was the thing that frightened me the most out of everything required of a writer. I have gained so much confidence in myself and my ability pitch my ideas! I've also made amazing friendships that I'll take with me on this journey.
— Danielle Nicki
The culture of collaboration was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I feel like I've been welcomed into a family. Truly.
— Joanne Thomson
Who is judging the submissions
Semi-finalists' pilots will be read by an incredible group of judges, including showrunners, executive producers, series creators and TV writers. This panel of judges will help us select the finalists, who will then go through a virtual interview before the 6-8 fellows are selected. Even if you are not selected as a fellow, there is still a chance you might be contacted if one of these judges likes your script enough to interview or refer you for a writing position.
Click on the pictures to read more about these judges!
SHERNOLD EDWARDS has written for a number of streaming, cable and network series including Sleepy Hollow, Anne with an E and Washington Black. She received an NAACP Image Award for her adaptation of the acclaimed novel A Day Late and A Dollar Short by Terry McMillan. Currently, she’s in development with AMC and Amazon Studios. Previously, Shernold was an exec at CTV Network (Canada) where she shepherded award-winning TV movies and series like Degrassi: TNG.
Felischa Marye is a writer, producer, director and showrunner. A graduate of the MFA screenwriting program at UCLA, Felischa transitioned into the film industry after a successful career in PR in Chicago, where she was born and raised. While still in film school, she sold her first comedy pilot to HBO. After writing on 2 seasons of the Netflix drama series "13 Reasons Why," Felischa created the comedy series, "Bigger" for BET+. Felischa is currently in an overall deal with BET Studios.
Tracey Deer is a Mohawk creator of groundbreaking content. Her recent directing includes Peacock’s Rutherford Falls, Amazon Studios’ upcoming Three Pines, and Starz hit Outlander. She was the co-creator, director, and co-showrunner on five seasons of Mohawk Girls and co-executive producer on Netflix/CBC series Anne with an E. Tracey screened her debut feature, Beans, at TIFF 2020, earning the TIFF Emerging Talent Award, presented by Ava DuVernay.Go to link
Nicole Mirante-Matthews is a producer and writer, currently in development on a new series for Apple TV. Nicole is also known for co-ep of The Walking Dead, co-ep of Luke Cage, supervising producer of NCIS, and writer for Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She began her career as a TV news reporter, graduating from the Edward R. Murrow School of communication at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, USA.
Writer/director Leigh Davenport is the creator of "Run The World" on Starz. She wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Netflix film “The Perfect Find” starring Gabrielle Union and the screenplay for Lifetime’s Wendy Williams biopic. Davenport is the former editorial director of HelloBeautiful.com. Over the last decade, Davenport has worked in entertainment media in various capacities including writing for The Black Girls Rock! Awards and in unscripted production at BET, TV ONE and VH1.
Chelsea Devantez is an Emmy-nominated writer, comedian, filmmaker and podcast host who entered into an overall deal with 20th Television at the beginning of 2022. She is currently a Co-Executive Producer on the ABC, Gina Rodriguez-led comedy, Not Dead Yet. She has written on Girls5Eva, Bless this Mess, Abby’s, and Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. Chelsea's short film, Basic, which she wrote, directed and starred in, premiered at SXSW 2020 and was released on Amazon Prime.
Valentina Garza is currently Co-EP on TRUE LIES for CBS. She was recently Consulting Producer on Hulu’s ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING, and developed the pilot LATIN-ISH for ABCS/ABC. In an overall with UTV, she developed a Latinx-themed family drama for NBC and served as Co-EP on ABC's BAKER AND THE BEAUTY. She wrote and EP’ed JANE THE NOVELA and rose to Co-EP during her multi-year run on JANE THE VIRGIN. Valentina spent six seasons on THE SIMPSONS, finishing as a Supervising Producer.
Nikita T. Hamilton came to Los Angeles to earn her PhD and discovered that she didn’t want to teach about television and film, she wanted to make them. Nikita worked as a Writers' Assistant for FX Networks and Marvel and as a Showrunner's Assistant for ABC Studios while completing her doctoral dissertation. In 2019, she staffed on Freeform’s The Bold Type and has since written on ABC’s A Million Little Things and worked on projects for HBO Max and Amazon.
Raised by incredibly supportive Chinese immigrant parents, Vivian graduated with a BFA in Film Studies and a BA in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Vivian’s stint as a Script Coordinator on the CBS drama “Ghost Whisperer” led to her first paid writing gig. A NBC’s Writers On the Verge alumni and WGA Feature Access Project Honoree, Vivian’s credits include: “Chaos” (CBS), “Christmas Bounty” (ABC), “Stitchers” (Freeform), “Cowboy Bebop” (Netflix), and “Invincible” (Amazon).
Vanessa Ramos recently launched her first show BLOCKBUSTER for Netflix. In 2021, Vanessa inked a multi-year overall deal with Universal Television. Previously she served as Executive Producer for MR. MAYOR, Supervising Producer on BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, Co-Producer on CRASHING, Co-Producer on BIG MOUTH for Netflix, and a Co-producer on SUPERSTORE for NBC. Additional writing credits include the 88th Academy Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, the 2021 Golden Globes, and BORDERTOWN.
Bianca Sams was most recently a Supervising Producer on The CW’s hit series CHARMED and was previously a writer on season two of TITANS. She is also a playwright recently inducted into The Kilroys, a prestigious organization advocating for equal representation of woman, trans, and non-binary writers on American stages. She has staffed on INCARNATE and THE ORIGINALS for The CW, TRAINING DAY for CBS, and DON’T LOOK DEEPER with Quibi/Newform.
Anita Kapila is one of the most in demand comedy writers in Canada. Anita served as Co-Executive Producer on all five seasons of "Kim's Convenience" and received a 2018 CSA nomination for her writing, along with a win for Best Comedy. She serves as Executive Producer of "Strays," the "Kim's Convenience" spin-off, as well as Executive Producer for Canada's number one comedy, "Children Ruin Everything." She's also Co-Executive Producer of "Son of a Critch."
Asha is currently a Co-EP on Fox’s “The Great North.” Prior to this role, she co-created Paramount+’s upcoming series “Soapdish”. She was most recently the Supervising Producer on Netflix’s “Incarnate” and was a Producer on Amazon’s “The Hospital.” Previously, she wrote for FX’s “Archer” and the upcoming series “The King” for Netflix starring Matthew McConaughey. Asha also served as Executive Story Editor on “Porky” at Netflix, and worked on two seasons of “American Horror Story.”
Pam Davis is an award-winning television writer/producer. She’s sold several pilots and written and produced on a number of critically acclaimed series ("House", "On Becoming a God in Central Florida", "Secrets & Lies", "Extant" etc.). She believes strongly in uplifting the community and has been a Sundance Lab Advisor, and a mentor for the WGA, The Writers Guild Foundation and the Canadian Film Centre. Currently, she’s in development with John Wells Productions and WB.
The virtual accelerator runs from late March through mid-April. The 6-8 fellows who are accepted into this program will spend several weeks polishing their pitches through sessions with guest speakers and peer review before a week of pitching to studio executives and production companies. All sessions and pitches will take place through Zoom.
Fellows are required to attend every session. Here are the dates (note these dates and times are subject to change):
October 17, 2022 - January 4, 2023:
Late January 2023
Quarter-finalists announced. Quarter-finalists will be required to submit a 2-minute video for further consideration.
Semi-finalists announced. Semi-finalists' scripts will be read and scored by industry judges.
Semi-finalists will gain access to a library of select virtual workshops from the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge virtual workshop series. Plus, they'll attend an exclusive virtual networking event, where they'll meet their fellow semi-finalists.
Finalists announced. All finalists will be interviewed virtually.
Fellows are announced. Fellows will have assigned work to complete before the beginning of the program, including reading other fellows' scripts, watching several virtual workshops and polishing pitch materials.
March 30, 31, April 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. PT / 2-5 p.m. ET:
Accelerator workshops (see below for more information). Exact times and dates are subject to change.
April 17-21, 2023:
Pitch week! Prior to this week, we will send the fellows' loglines to the companies and individuals signed on to hear pitches. They will each select three pitches they would like to hear based on those loglines. Fellows will be notified with the exact dates and times of their pitch meetings a few days in advance.
With special guest Elle Johnson
Elle Johnson is a TV Writer and Executive Producer who has written and produced shows from "Law & Order," "CSI: Miami," "Saving Grace," and "The Glades," to "Ghost Whisperer," "The Fosters,” and "Any Day Now.” She was an EP on the Amazon Original Series “Bosch.” And the co-showrunner on Netflix’s NAACP Award winning limited series "Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.”
Mock writers room
With special guest Matthew J. Lieberman
Matthew is currently the co-executive producer of Netflix’s hit show "The Lincoln Lawyer." Prior to that, he was on “Queen of the South” for Disney and USA. Other credits include "The Glades" and "Judging Amy." He has also sold over ten pilots, and spent more than half his career in development.
Legal information for creatives
With special guest Anuj Gupta
Entertainment lawyer Anuj Gupta is the founder of First Gen Law, Gupta IP and co-founder of Sankara Pictures. Previously, he served as the head of legal and business affairs at companies including eko, W*E Interactive Ventures JV and Mashable. He also worked at Facebook and Vox Media.
With special guest Samara Bay
Samara Bay is an author and speech coach whose clients range from candidates for Congress to C-suite executives, and Hollywood celebrities; as a dialect coach, she's worked on projects like Wonder Woman 1984, American Crime Story: Versace, and Hunters. Her book, PERMISSION TO SPEAK, is a revolution in how to think about your voice.
With special guest Jasmine Russ
Jasmine is the vice president of production and development at Fabel Entertainment where she specializes in genre blending, horror, comedy and first time creators. As an executive at Fabel, Jasmine has set up multiple projects at Netflix, Amazon and IMDb TV, as well as working with the team to shepherd and grow the development slate.
Perfecting the logline
With Katrina Medoff and Tracy Sayre
As founders and executive directors of Women's Weekend Film Challenge, Katrina and Tracy have produced 36 short films and advanced the careers of over 900 women and nb filmmakers. Through their workshop series, they have interviewed dozens of Hollywood power players, and as part of the pilot accelerator, they have coached emerging TV writers for major industry meetings.
Read coverage of our pilot accelerator on Deadline, Variety, tv tech,and Women and Hollywood:
Register for our free info session on Nov. 1. Attendees will receive a discount code and a chance to win a hard drive from our sponsors at Western Digital and SanDisk Professional. You can also check out our FAQ page.
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